The Arkansas institution appealed to guests because of its "healing waters".

By Valerie Fraser Luesse
September 25, 2020
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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Given the wide appeal of its “healing waters,” this area attracted travelers even before a magnificent hotel was ready to welcome guests. In the early days, the elegant 1886 Crescent was a women’s college and conservatory during the off-season and a hotel in the summertime. In the 1930s, it was purchased by Norman Baker, a shyster who lured cancer patients to come here for treatments that had no medicinal value. Many died, leading Baker to set up a makeshift morgue in the basement of the hotel. Among the ghostly residents here is one of Baker’s unfortunate patients, Theodora, who is believed to haunt room 419.